The Inauguration of the Mishkan

Dani Roth

Parshas Nasso discusses the inauguration of the Mishkan. As part of the inauguration ceremony, a head of every Shevet had to bring a specific Korban. The Korban contained, one silver bowl weighing 130 shekels and one silver basin of 70 shekels by the sanctuary weight, both filled with choice flour with oil mixed in, for a meal offering; one gold ladle of 10 shekels, filled with incense; one bull of the herd, one ram, and one lamb in its first year, for a burnt offering; one goat for a sin offering; and for his sacrifice of well-being: two oxen, five rams, five he-goats, and five yearling lambs.

Rashi on 7:19 quotes Rav Moshe HaDarshon explaining the significance of each of these values: Adam's lifespan was 930, he was 130 when he had his first child, Noach was 520 when he had his first child, and 70 represents the nations that descended from his children. Other values correspond to 1 Torah, 10 commandments, and 613 Mitzvos. Other values correspond to the patriarchs,  a bull corresponding to Avraham, a ram corresponding to Yitzchak, a sheep corresponding to Yaakov, a he-goat corresponding to Yosef's sale, and 2 cattle, corresponding to Moshe and Aaron.

What do these allusions have to do with the inauguration of the Mishkan?

To answer this question, we first need to understand the purpose of the Mishkan. The Mishkan reminds man of proper ideas regarding God. The Menorah reminds us that God is the Creator who rested on the 7th day. The Table reminds us that God didn’t leave earth after creation, but rather sustained his nation with food. The Korbanos remind us that God is aware of man's actions.

The sacrifices of the inauguration of the Mishkan were unique. They designated the Mishkan’s purpose. The specific format of the inaugural sacrifices remind man of three fundamentals: Man's existence (Adam’s lifespan of 930 and his and Noach’s ages at having children), Torah (613), and Torah leaders. Man exists to learn Torah, and Torah learning is facilitated through the leaders.